Tag Archives: Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan/ICJ: Human Rights lawyers Asabali Mustafayev and Nemat Karimli must be allowed to practice their profession

May 7, 2018

The ICJ today denounced the decision of the Presidium of the Azerbaijan Bar Association, of 23 April 2018, to suspend the licences of two Azerbaijan human rights lawyers Asabali Mustafayev and Nemat Karimli (picture).

The ICJ called on the Presidium to reverse their decision and allow the lawyers to resume their practice.

It stressed that disciplinary proceedings pending against the lawyers should be immediately terminated.

The ICJ said that the decision of the Presidium was contrary to international standards on the role of lawyers including the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed under international law.

The ICJ understands that the proceedings against the two lawyers, initiated following a submission of the Deputy Prosecutor General, were related to the critical statements made by the lawyers in the media, regarding high profile criminal cases.

Nemat Karimli, had stated in media interviews that his client Afgan Mukhtarli, an opposition activist convicted on charges of smuggling, had been illegally and forcibly transferred from Georgia to Azerbaijan and that his life could be at risk if he was returned to Azerbaijan.

The lawyer also complained of excessive searches and being prevented from communicating in private while visiting his client in detention.

The disciplinary proceedings against Asabali Mustafayev relate to allegations he made on social media that the prosecution of politician Gozal Bayramli, on a charge of smuggling, was politically motivated.

Both lawyers were charged with spreading false statements and slanderous information about investigative authorities.






International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2017

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The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) has launched its 2017 Annual Review, providing an overview of the IBAHRI’s major activities over the year.

2017 was a difficult year for human rights: since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted 70 years ago, it appears that we are now reaching a point where the universal acceptance of human rights is being eroded. Increasingly polarised political spheres and growing support for populist governments are resulting in policies that scapegoat minorities, attack the under-represented and persecute those who oppose these governments.

In this atmosphere, protection of human rights, the rule of law and an independent legal profession are more important than ever. This makes the work of the IBAHRI more important than ever. Since its establishment in 1995, the IBAHRI has endeavoured to defend fundamental human rights through the promotion and protection of the independence of the legal profession, and by providing members of the global legal community with the tools needed to do the same.


As part of its ongoing projects in the Americas, the IBAHRI provided torture-prevention training to legal professionals, including judges and public defenders, across Brazil and Mexico. In El Salvador, the IBAHRI brought a high-level delegation of experts on the rights to justice, truth and historical memory to meet with legal professionals, the executive, armed forces, CSOs and academia with a view to achieving justice effectively and realising the rights of those who suffered human rights abuses as a result of the 12-year civil war. Additionally, the IBAHRI continued to monitor the emblematic trial of Venezuelan Judge María Lourdes Afiuni, and sent open letters to President Donald Trump of the United States, which criticised the President and his administration for actions the IBAHRI felt were ‘diametrically opposed to the defence of human rights’.

In Asia Pacific, the IBAHRI worked with the newly established Independent Lawyers’ Association of Myanmar to continue its work in the country, and has been running a trial observation programme to ensure those responsible for the death of prominent lawyer U Ko Ni are brought to justice. In Timor-Leste, the IBAHRI has consolidated its presence in the country by seeking to strengthen the legal profession and supporting the creation of its first national bar association.

The IBAHRI launched a mentorship programme for junior Azerbaijani lawyers that linked them with more experienced senior lawyers, and held a Law Student Conference in Baku, among other activities intended to advocate for the rights of legal professionals in the country. We also facilitated attendance at various OSCE Meetings for lawyers in GeorgiaKazakhstan and Tajikistan as part of the IBAHRI’s ongoing work in Europe and Central Asia.



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In Tajikistan, reforms undertaken by the Qualifications Committee set up by the Ministry of Justice drastically decreased the number of practising lawyers.

Read more about the situation of Tajik lawyers and the work the IBAHRI has done in partnership with the Tajikistan Barristers’ Union here:https://tinyurl.com/y7rhftx4

(International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute Facebook, 9/5/18)

Azerbaijan: IBAHRI calls for Azerbaijan Bar Association to revoke suspension of human rights lawyer’s licence

March 22, 2018

In support of lawyer Fakhraddin Mehdiyev’s 16 March 2018 appeal for the decision suspending him from practise to be overturned, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) also calls on the Azerbaijan Bar Association to revoke its judgment. The ruling followed a complaint by the Deputy Prosecutor-General of Azerbaijan Rustam Usubov that Mr Mehdiyev and other colleagues were ‘politicised’.

A prominent defender of the rights of political prisoners, Mr Mehdiyev’s licence to practice law was suspended for one year on 22 January 2018 by the Azerbaijan Bar Association for allegedly disclosing prosecution material when he handed an overview of his client, Jahangir Hajiyev former Chairman of the Board of the International Bank of Azerbaijan, to media representatives. Mr Mehdiyev argues that this was legal, as the case had already been decided at the time the interview was given.

IBAHRI Director, Phillip Tahmindjis, commented: ‘The decision to suspend Mr Mehdiyev’s licence appears as part of a deliberate attempt by the Azerbaijan Bar Association to discredit lawyers who take on cases deemed politically sensitive. It is not the role of the Bar Association to pass judgement on the clients of lawyers. Rather, the Azerbaijan Bar Association should seek to protect the independence of the lawyers it seems so intent on attacking.’

Mr Mehdiyev is among a number of lawyers suspended or disbarred after representing political prisoners or government critics, including dozens of activists and journalists arbitrarily charged since President Ilham Aliyev came to power in 2003. In a move seemingly to minimise the number of opposition politicians receiving legal representation, the Code of Civil and Administrative Procedure (the ‘Code’) and the Bar Act were amended by Parliament on 31 October 2017 to allow only members of the Bar Association to represent clients in court. The amendments were signed into law on 7 November by President Aliyev and entered into force on 1 January 2018.





February 22, 2018


On 21 February 2018, the preliminary hearing of Yalchin Imanov was concluded in the Ganja City Administrative – Economic Court.

On 20 November 2017, Azerbaijan’s Bar Association suspended human rights lawyer Yalchin Imanov from practising law, pending a court ruling, following a complaint from the Penitentiary Service of Azerbaijan. On 10 August 2017, the Deputy Chairman of the Penitentiary Service of Azerbaijan stated, in a letter of complaint to Azerbaijan’s Bar Association, that Yalchin Imanov had been circulating false information through the press. The complaint refers to the human rights defender allegedly disseminating false information regarding allegations of torture of two of his clients in detention. Yalchin Imanov was also accused of creating negative public opinion of the work of the Prison Service.

At the hearing, the human rights lawyer emphasised that the Administrative Procedure Code did not contain any relevant provisions for a hearing on the decision of the Bar Association and therefore an administrative court is not the correct forum for a hearing on his case.





http://www.barassociation.az/ (AZERBAIJANI)

Azerbaijan: Risky Business: Defending Azerbaijan’s Opposition

February 5, 2018

Lawyer Yalcin Imanov doubts he will be allowed to practice law in the future. "I don't have any hope for a fair ruling."

A prominent lawyer spoke openly about the beating of his client while in custody, perhaps thinking that it could stir change in Azerbaijan.

Action was taken in the authoritarian country, but not against the police suspected of carrying out the beating. Instead, it is the whistle-blowing lawyer who finds himself being punished.

Shortly after speaking out, Yalcin Imanov, who has defended a number of government critics, was suspended by the Azerbaijani Bar Association. He awaits a final decision this month on whether he will be formally disbarred.

With the Bar Association refusing to release any documents on its decision, Imanov and others strongly suspect the action is tied to his work. “I’ve asked for a copy of the decision on terminating my practice and a transcript of the session when the decision was made,” Imanov told RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service. “But so far I’ve heard nothing back.”

It wouldn’t be the first time a lawyer has been singled out in Azerbaijan, which has been led by authoritarian President Ilham Aliyev since 2003.




Egypt/Day of the Endangered Lawyer/Ireland: Bar denounces mistreatment of lawyers in Egypt, Turkey, China, and Azerbaijan

January 24, 2018

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The Council of The Bar of Ireland has written to the embassies of Egypt, Turkey, China and Azerbaijan to condemn the harassment, imprisonment and torture of lawyers in their respective countries.

Tom Creed SC, chairman of the Bar’s human rights committee, wrote to the embassies on the occasion of the eighth annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer.

Mr Creed said: “We urgently call upon these governments to cease their campaign of persecution against the legal profession.

“The present course can only lead to further international isolation and to further deterioration of the human rights situation for the people of these countries.”

The Bar identified the following cases as cause for concern:

  • Egypt: “Ebrahim Metwally Hegazy, Azza Soliman and Mohamed Zaree. Ms Soliman and Mr Zaree have been prohibited from travelling abroad, and Mr Hegazy has been detained and tortured. They have been targeted for persecution solely on account of their tireless work in protecting the human rights of their fellow Egyptians.”
  • Turkey: “The detention since September 2017 of 14 lawyers from the People’s Law Office, an organisation which represents the victims of police violence and other human rights violations carried out by state officials. It’s reported that of the lawyers, Engin Gökoğlu, was tortured by prison officers while in detention. At the time of these arrests, the number of lawyers under criminal prosecution in Turkey has reached 1,343.”




Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan’s unlucky lawyers

December 21, 2017

Baku-based lawyer Samed Rahimli discusses new changes in Azerbaijan that are set to make life (even more) difficult for the country’s independent lawyers.


Samed Rahimli is a Baku-based lawyer with a long track record of advocacy for detainees in Azerbaijan’s jails. This year, Rahimli co-founded Praktik Hüquqşünaslar Qrupu, an advocacy initiative determined to oppose new changes to Azerbaijan’s legal profession.

On 31 October, Azerbaijan’s parliament approved amendments to the civil code which give the state-controlled bar association full control over practicing law in the country. Azerbaijan’s lawyers are either licensed members of the bar who have had to take a highly politicised examination, or “hüquqşünaslar”, registered lawyers who are not members of the bar, but are entitled to represent their clients in non-criminal cases.

The changes could lead to thousands of lawyers becoming unable to represent anybody in a court of law. Observers have already decried the move as part of an intensifying crackdown on the handful of human rights lawyers who still remain in the country (following the legislative changes, some lawyers have reported being called to their local police stations).

Justice in Azerbaijan has never been easy to obtain. As part of oDR’s series of interviews with human rights lawyers, I asked Samed Rahimli why these changes could make it even rarer.